Category: Giro d’Italia

Don’t expect many Giro-Tour double attempts in 2019

If 2018 was the year of the Giro-Tour double, this coming season likely won’t see many of the major grand tour stars take a shot at one of cycling’s most elusive achievements.

So far, Movistar’s Mikel Landa is the only top rider who’s hinted he might race both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2019. While race schedules are yet to be finalized, most of the other major GC riders in the peloton seem to be shying away from the heft of the double attempt in 2019.

Look no further than Team Sky. Tour champ Geraint Thomas and defending Giro winner Chris Froome have both strongly hinted that the Tour will be the center of their respective calendars. For both of those riders, the lure of the Tour is too much to resist.

“I definitely feels there’s unfinished business [at the Giro] but next year might be the wrong time,” Thomas told BBC this week. “Being at the Tour with the No. 1 on my back, it would be a shame to know I wouldn’t be at my best.”

Froome, who won the Giro in May and finished third at the Tour, also said he’s leaning toward an all-out push for the yellow jersey in what he hopes will be a record-tying fifth victory.

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), who finished second in both the Giro and Tour in 2018, says he’s still undecided on how his calendar will shape up. The big Dutchman says the Giro route with its longer time trial kilometers suits him better than next year’s climb-heavy Tour route. However, many expect Dumoulin to tilt toward the Tour at the expense of the Giro.

Quintana, who fell short in a 2017 double attempt with second at the Giro and 12th at the Tour, has already confirmed he will not race the Giro in 2019.

“I want to be as fresh as possible for the Tour,” Quintana said this week from Colombia, “and the route with the high mountains really favors me. My dream of winning the Tour is still fully intact.”

Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) admitted he’d love to race next year’s Giro, but said the combination of sponsor demands and a climb-friendly Tour route means he’ll put July at the center of his 2019 calendar.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), one of only two active riders who has won all three grand tours (alongside Froome), is expected to make a full push for the Giro. He last tried the Giro-Tour double in 2016, when he won the Giro but was not a factor for the yellow jersey, in 30th overall.

Once considered too difficult to realistically confront both races in top form, the demanding Giro-Tour double has returned to fashion the past few seasons.

More major riders have taken up the challenge with varying success. Alberto Contador gave it a good run in 2015, winning the Giro before going fifth at the Tour. Quintana tried in 2017 with mixed results, finishing second to Dumoulin at the Giro before finishing a flat 12th at the Tour. Both of them said the hard effort at the Giro left them empty for the Tour.

So why did Froome and Dumoulin — the closest anyone’s come to pulling off the double in decades — fare so well in 2018? Soccer’s World Cup. Tour organizers bumped the race back a week later in July to limit overlapping the race with the popular soccer tournament.

This year’s Giro ended May 27 and the Tour started July 7 for a total of 40 days between. An additional week spaced out the two grand tours. That might not seem like much, but both Froome and Dumoulin said that full week of recovery was decisive to their commitment to the 2018 double attempt.

“That extra week was key to being able to race the Giro and still have a chance to recover for the Tour,” Froome told VeloNews in a recent interview. “That was the main reason why we decided to try the Giro. Without that week, there really isn’t enough time to have a chance to recover from that effort at the Giro.”

Dumoulin doesn’t expect any GC rider to realistically hope to fare well in both grand tours.

“Next year it’s going to be a week less so there will be only three and a half weeks,” Dumoulin said. “I think next year whoever wants to go for the challenge to do the Giro and Tour, that would be pretty impossible in my eyes.”

Next year’s Giro ends June 2 and the Tour starts July 6 with only 33 days in between, so don’t expect anyone racing to win the Giro to have a lot of firepower left in late July.

Next year’s Giro is expected to draw riders such as Nibali, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and perhaps Egan Bernal (Sky). None of them are expected to race the Tour, and if they do, the yellow jersey wouldn’t be a realistic goal.

The mark left by Marco Pantani — who became the last rider to pull off the double in 1998 — looks safe for now.

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Landa aims for Giro-Tour double in 2019

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Mikel Landa plans to race both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2019 if his Movistar team will allow him the grand tour double target.

The Spanish cyclist from the Basque Country last raced the Giro and Tour in 2017 when he was still a member of Team Sky. After a crash, he still managed to win a stage and the mountain jersey in the Italian tour and returned one month later to place fourth overall while helping Chris Froome win the Tour overall.

The 2019 Giro and Tour plan hinges on a team meeting next month with manager Eusebio Unzué.

“I want to do the Giro and the Tour,” Landa told Spanish daily AS. “I’ll talk to Eusebio and then we’ll see what happens.”

He signed for Movistar ahead of the 2018 season. He was one of three leaders the Spanish super team took to the Tour with Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The team, however, fell short of its goal. Quintana won a mountain stage and Landa led the team home in seventh overall.

Media has hyped Landa since his breakthrough Giro d’Italia ride in 2015. He won two summit finish stages and placed third overall while helping then-Astana team leader Fabio Aru. Aru placed second behind a dominant Alberto Contador.

Landa has yet to win a grand tour. Returning to the Giro as Movistar’s leader could offer him his chance.

The 2019 Giro route includes 58.5 kilometers of time trials, but also five high-mountain summit finishes. Landa would then need to back off in the five weeks between the Giro and the Tour. He is expected to join Quintana for the Tour.

“Will it affect me in the Tour? I do not think so,” he said. “There have been many mountains in the last week in Italy in recent years, and people go on to do well in the Tour.”

Top stars Froome and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) both raced the double in 2018. Froome won the Giro d’Italia and placed third in the Tour as he helped teammate Geraint Thomas win. Dutchman Dumoulin placed second in both grand tours.

Quintana tried the double in 2017 and regretted it later in the summer. He lost the pink jersey on the Giro’s final day to Tom Dumoulin and placed second overall. In the Tour, he could not reach his best that allowed him to place second overall in 2013 and 2015. He closed 12th overall.

Movistar should decide on its riders’ 2019 programs soon. The team’s riders and staff meet next month in Pamplona, Spain.

Landa could use a knockout performance in one of the grand tours to secure a top-dollar renewal with Team Movistar or a new contract for 2020. His current deal ends next year.

“What I achieve in the races will affect my future,” he said. “I hope to give headaches to those who have to renew me or those who want to sign me.”

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VeloNews Show: 2019 Giro route

This video includes images and footage from Getty Images/Velo Collection, YouTube/Giro d’Italia, YouTube/20th Century Fox, YouTube/InCycle.

Why is Chris Froome dancing around? Is it because he likes the 2019 Giro d’Italia?

While we cannot say whether or not Froome, the defending champ, will return to race for the pink jersey, we can say that the 2019 route is an intriguing blend of time trials and climbs. The second half of the race will be extra-hard with ample climbs.

We pick three must-watch stages, discuss some of the riders we hope will show up to race in May, and marvel at Froome’s moves.

All that and more on this week’s VeloNews Show!

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Podcast: SRAM’s 12-speed eTap; Kabush wins Iceman on gravel bike?

Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

News leaked out this week that SRAM is developing a new 12-speed eTap component group. We bring tech editor Dan Cavallari on the show to discuss its likely features and what it takes to increase the size of a cassette.

Then, we serve up some takes on the 2019 Giro d’Italia route. Will the mountainous back half of the race make up for what seems like a boring start? Who will win it?

And finally we talk to Geoff Kabush who dared to ride a gravel bike in a mountain bike race… And in fact, he won Iceman Cometh on those curly bars.

This episode of the VeloNews podcast is sponsored by Health IQ. To get a free quote and save money on life insurance, go to

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Please give us a review and a rating, if you have time! Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor and the VeloNews Tech Podcast with Dan Cavallari.

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Roundtable: Tour route vs. Giro route

It’s the beginning of November, that time of the year when we cycling fans can let our imaginations run wild about what will happen in the next season of bike racing. Now that we have seen the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France routes and digested the 42 stages of racing on tap in 2019, we can start forming some opinions. How do these two grand tours compare? What sort of action do we expect from the GC hitters? Time for a roundtable!

Now that we know the 2019 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France routes, which one are you most excited to watch and why?

Fred Dreier, @freddreierMajor caveat: I’m always more excited for the Giro d’Italia due to the timing and dynamics of the race. That said, with regards to the actual route, the Tour’s route is more enticing as a fan. The Giro route is again a beast of parcours that saves the big wallop for the third week, with a final individual TT to hang over everyone’s head. With the Tour route, by contrast, the absence of a final, decisive time trial is a positive step in my opinion. I am also curious to see how the three shorter mountain stages (stages 14, 19, and 20) shake up the dynamics of the race. The summit finishes at the Tourmalet and Val Thorens, after so few kilometers of pedaling, should enable some of the punchier climbers to have more strength in their legs.

Spencer Powlison, @spino_powerlegs: On the whole, I like this year’s Tour better because it promises must-watch stages throughout all three weeks. The Giro has a sleepy start when it comes to the GC battle, and there are also some dreadfully boring flat stages on the menu (stages 10 and 11, most definitely. I think the Giro’s highest highs will be more exciting than the Tour — the final week, especially — but overall the Tour route has more to offer fans.

Dane Cash, @danecash: I like the Giro route better, let’s get that out of the way first. But I’ll still be more excited to watch cycling’s main event in July. That probably won’t change unless the Giro starts drawing all the sport’s top GC contenders on peak form every year — or unless the ASO decides to build a Tour route of 21 consisting solely of 230-kilometer flat stages.

Which rider does the Giro favor and why? What about the Tour?

Fred: The Giro favors your traditional well-rounded grand tour champion who can time trial and survive long, punishing climbing efforts. In my opinion, it is perfect for Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin. The Tour, by contrast, favors a rider with an extremely strong team for the TTT, and a rider with explosive climbing ability. I think Geraint Thomas is actually better suited for the Tour de France than for the Giro. If Mitchelton-Scott can recruit a few powerful time trialists, then Simon Yates is another rider for the Tour.

Spencer: By now you know I’m a big Nibali fan, so take this with a grain of salt, but this Giro is perfect for him. The time trials have enough climbing to keep a guy like Dumoulin honest. There are plenty of tricky stages where he could scoop up seconds (hello Il Lombardia-inspired stage 15), and plus his experience in grand tours will help him save matches for that crucial final week, like he did when he won in 2016. The Tour favors Chris Froome. Always has, always will. Well, until he gets old and retires.

Dane: There are three time trials on the menu, but the total TT distance is still pretty short compared to past Giri. It’s the kind of route that favors a do-it-all talent. Obviously, Chris Froome fits the bill but I’m not expecting him to go. Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic, Geraint Thomas, and of course Vincenzo Nibali could thrive as well. As for the Tour, Sky will certainly be favored, but it does look like a good race for climbers like Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet, if they can just manage to not lose huge chunks of time in the TTT.

Describe your dream scenario for a GC race at either the Tour or Giro.

Fred: At the Giro, I’d love to see a knock-down, drag-out fight on the long climbs and time trials between Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin. For the Tour, I want to see Chris Froome have to battle a cadre of explosive climbers, namely Simon Yates, Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet, and Miguel Ángel López.

Spencer: Team Sky wins the stage 2 TTT at the Tour and then Froome keeps yellow for the remaining 19 stages. Ha! Just kidding folks. I’d love to see Sky cut Egan Bernal loose to ride the Giro as a leader this year. He loses some ground on the time trials, but in the final week he has a knock-down, drag-out fight with Nibali and Adam Yates. Then, it all comes down to that stage 21 time trial, a bunch of climber/GC guys TTing their legs off for all the marbles.

Dane: Dream Tour de France: Froome and Thomas both shine in the early goings but then begin to square off against each other for maximum dramatic effect. That allows Nairo Quintana and Tom Dumoulin to surge into the conversation later in the race. The Condor and the Butterfly (I didn’t make up their nicknames!) duke it out with the Sky duo in the final mountain stages for the yellow jersey.

If Peter Sagan were to race both the Giro and the Tour, how many stages would he win between the two?

Fred: This number will be heavily influenced by whether or not Fernando Gaviria suffers from the UAE-Team Emirates first-year curse (lookin’ at you, Fabio Aru). If the Wolfpack-less Gaviria takes a step back, then I’d say Sagan could win a combined seven stages. But wait, why would Peter Sagan race the Giro and not bask in sunshine at the Amgen Tour of California?

Spencer: As usual, the Giro will have a sub-par field of sprinters and Sagan will scoop up five stages there, thanks in part to the lumpy, tricky stages in the first week. Then he’ll get two stages at the Tour, maybe three. So seven to eight total. Not bad!

Dane: I’ll say six total: three in the Giro and three in the Tour. The first week at the Giro is full of opportunities for the three-time world champ, but I do wonder if he’d stay in the race for the whole Giro. The Tour also has a number of early opportunities, right up until the first rest day.

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Commentary: The 2019 Giro d’Italia’s five must-watch stages

With the 2019 Giro d’Italia route now officially unveiled, it’s a perfect time to get excited about what’s on tap for next spring. Even with the May 11 start in Bologna still over seven months away, we can start dreaming about the battles to come in Italy.

It’s a slightly more balanced route than what the Tour de France organizers unveiled last week in that there are three individual time trials, but this is still going to be a Giro that the climbers will love. The peloton will spend plenty of time high up in the Alps next May on terrain that will be very familiar to longtime Giro fans.

Here are five of the stages that have us especially excited for next year’s race.

Stage 9

Okay, it may be a bit anti-climactic to kick off this list with a time trial, but the Giro’s ninth stage will be a critical test. Although there are two other time trials in the race, neither one is especially long. The 34.7-kilometer trek through wine country from Riccione into the micro-state of San Marino in stage 9 should have a major impact on the race. It will give the TT specialists a chance to jump out to an advantage, and set the pecking order heading into the second week.

That said, the final third of this TT features some bona fide climbing. From the second intermediate time check at 22.2 kilometers, the road rises nearly 350 meters over 5.7 kilometers of road. There’s another uphill stretch that heads into the finish line. Pacing will be crucial — go out too hard and you might start to drag on those late gradients.

If that’s not enough to entice roadside fans, there’s the extra perk that visiting spectators can cross another (tiny) country off the travel bucket list.

Stage 14

The journey from Saint-Vincent to Courmayeur sure packs a lot of punch into just 131 total kilometers. The peloton will get no respite coming off a tough stage 13, with a 14th stage that features four big climbs and a short uphill finish for a total of 4,000 meters of elevation gain. The stage rolls through the Aosta Valley and heads high into the Alps.

The penultimate categorized ascent up the Colle San Carlo runs 10.5 kilometers at a 9.8 percent gradient — steep enough to blow whatever is left of the peloton to pieces. It tops out with around 26 kilometers to go, and then comes a long descent to the final push to the finish at the Skyway Monte Bianco. At least the exhausted riders will get the enjoy the Mont Blanc scenery as they suffer toward the line.

Stage 15

The Giro is fully embracing the Lombardy region in 2019, with a few high-mountain stages and then this celebration of Il Lombardia, one of the most exciting one-day races on the calendar.

The familiar Madonna del Ghisallo, Colma di Sormano, Civiglio, and San Ferma Della Battaglia climbs all feature on the back end of stage 15. They’re all relatively short efforts compared to some of the more intense high-mountain climbs in the race, so this won’t be a defining GC stage of the race, but it should be an exciting showdown nonetheless. A keen descender could sneak away in the finale, just like Vincenzo Nibali has done in the season’s final monument.

Considering how much we love the classics, it’s great to see the Giro visiting Il Lombardia territory and the Tour visiting De Ronde terrain in the same year.

Stage 16

Anyone hoping to ease back into the race coming off of the second and final rest day will get a rude awakening in the Giro’s stage 16. The early Passo della Presolana and Croce di Salven climbs can’t be underestimated. After the descent off the latter, however, things become especially intimidating. From around kilometer 60, the road runs mostly uphill for the next 71 kilometers, with the last stretch of that coming in the form of one of the Giro’s most iconic ascents: the Passo Gavia.

The climb that American Andy Hampsten conquered on his way to a grand tour victory needs no introduction. What’s more, the peloton will have already been climbing for more than an hour when it arrives — and riders will have more climbing to do after they crest the Gavia too.

From the top of the Gavia, the pack will zoom back down to the foot of the Passo Mortiriolo. With a 10.1 percent gradient across 12.8 kilometers, it should be a major battleground in the fight for pink. A fast descent from the summit until an uphill run to the Ponte di Legno finish should keep things interesting.

Stage 20

The four big climbs on tap for the final mountain stage of the race may not have the name recognition of some of the more legendary Giro ascents, but they should make for a great day of racing just the same. The second climb of stage 20, the Passo Manghen, runs 18.9 kilometers at 7.6 percent, making it slightly longer than the Gavia and almost as steep.

If anyone has the grinta to go long in stage 20, this is a great place to give it a shot.

The Passo Rolle will be another opportunity to attack before the shorter but challenging Croce d’Aune finishing climb. As the last big mountain ascent of the race, it will give the contenders one last chance to go head to head before the final individual time trial closes things out the following day.

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Froome uncertain of Giro d’Italia title defense

MILAN (AFP) — Defending champion Chris Froome said Wednesday he was still uncertain whether he will defend his Giro d’Italia title as the 102nd edition of the race was presented in Milan.

Froome, 33, became the first British rider to win the Giro last May to complete a ‘grand slam’ after his Tour de France and Vuelta a España wins in 2017.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if I’ll be there at the Giro d’Italia 2019. It’s a decision we’ll have to make in December,” said Froome, who appeared onstage during the presentation.

“The pink jersey for me is a great honor; it had been missing from my collection.

“It was an important jersey for the history of cycling, and something I had dreamed of as a child.

“It’s also an important race for the team as it’s the 10th anniversary of Team Sky.”

Froome finished third in this year’s Tour de France, which was won by Sky teammate Geraint Thomas.

He failed to match the record of five Tour de France victories jointly held by Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, and Miguel Indurain.

And with a shorter gap between the end of the Giro on June 2 and the start of the Tour de France on June 29, he could opt to skip the race.

“We’re all together in December at a training camp so I think in that period we will decide everything for next year,” he added.

“One thing is certain if I’m not there one of my teammates will be coming to try to win.”

Last year’s Giro started in Israel, but this year’s race which covers 3,518km will be almost entirely within Italy, apart from a time trial into San Marino.

The race starts with a tough 8.2km time trial in Bologna concluding in an uphill finish at the San Luca Sanctuary which overlooks the city.

“A start like that, with the Bologna time trial, is explosive and interesting,” said Froome.

“It’s a very balanced race, between the time trials and massive mountains.”

The riders will tackle climbs including the Passo Gavia at 2,618m altitude and Passo del Mortirolo with a total of seven summit finishes, two on individual time trials.

The final week will include stiff mountain tests but the overall winner will not be known until the final day and a third individual time trial which finishes in Verona’s amphitheater.

“It’s a brutal, brutal second half,” added Froome. “There’s two quite difficult time trials in the first week which I like.”

If Froome chooses to skip the Giro, Thomas may step in and carry the mantle for Sky.

“Before this year I would have said no [to racing the Giro and Tour],” Thomas told The Guardian on Tuesday. “Froomey’s done it in previous years and I thought: ‘Wow, he’s special.’ But look at Tom Dumoulin [second in the Giro and Tour in 2018]. Maybe it’s possible.”

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Chris Froome undecided over defence of Giro d’Italia on ‘explosive’ course

• Team Sky rider undecided following announcement of route
• Decision rests partly on Froome’s desire to win Tour de France

The Giro d’Italia champion Chris Froome said he is still undecided about riding in next year’s edition but added that the start of the 102nd route, announced on Wednesday, looked explosive.

The Team Sky rider became the first Briton to win the century-old race in May, and was briefly the first cyclist in 35 years to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

Related: Geraint Thomas: ‘Ideally, Froome would ride for me but that’s not possible’

Continue reading…

Mountainous 2019 Giro d’Italia route bookended by time trials

While next year’s Tour de France route is sparing with individual time trials, the 2019 Giro d’Italia route will be bookended by races against the clock. The 3,518.5-kilometer course, announced Wednesday in Milan, will also offer stages for the climbers with seven summit finishes.

The season’s first grand tour, which will run from May 11 to June 2, will begin with an 8.2km individual time trial in Bologna. Unlike most prologue TTs, this one features a tough finish climb after six flat kilometers in the city. The course ends atop the San Luca climb, which is 2.1km at a 9.7 percent average gradient with stretches at 10-12 percent, and peaking at 16 percent with around 1km to go.

As the race winds through the Apennines and Abruzzo, there will be a few hilly, difficult stages, but the first nine days will not feature any outright mountains. Sprinters will have a few chances, such as stages 3 and 5. Four stages will also be 200 kilometers or longer: stages 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8.

All of this builds up to the Giro’s traditional wine-themed time trial, this year held in the Sangiovese region on stage 9. Similar to the opening time trial, this individual 34.7km test features some tough climbing at the end, gaining 750 meters total.

2019 Giro d'Italia route

Following the first rest day, the Giro will have two more days for the sprinters. While stages 10 and 11 are pancake-flat, stages 12 through 15 will pummel the peloton with difficult climbs in Italy’s northwestern corner.

Stage 14 is particularly intriguing, just 131km long with 4,000 meters of climbing. While the Giro has been slow to adopt short, explosive, mountainous stages like those seen in the Vuelta a España, this day is in keeping with modern trends. The route features five KOMs: The Verrayes, Verrogne, Truc d’Arbe (Combes), and Colle San Carlo climbs come before the summit finish at Courmayeur on the shoulders of Mont Blanc.

After the final rest day, the Giro will ride from Lovere to Ponte di Legno. This queen stage will be 226 kilometers with 5,700m of climbing. It runs over the Presolana, the Croce di Salven, the Gavia Pass (Cima Coppi), and the Mortirolo (Montagna Pantani) from the hardest side of Mazzo di Valtellina.

Apart from one long sprinters’ day on stage 18, the final week is packed with mountains. Stages 17, 19, and 20 will have summit finishes.

Stage 20 looks especially cruel at 193 kilometers with 5,200 meters of climbing. The route takes on the Cima Campo, Manghen Pass, and Rolle Pass, and it finishes atop Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena.

Finally, the Giro ends in Verona with a 15.6km time trial. Again, this won’t be a simple, flat route for pure power riders. Stage 21 includes the Torricelle climb, which is about 4.5km long and averages a five percent gradient.

2019 Giro d’Italia route

Stage 1
Bologne – San Luca (individual time trial, 8.2km)
Stage 2
Bologne – Fucecchio (200km)
Stage 3
Vinci – Orbetello (219km)
Stage 4
Orbetello – Frascati (228km)
Stage 5
Frascati – Terracina (140km)
Stage 6
Cassino – San Giovanni Rotondo (233km)
Stage 7
Vasto – L’Aquila (180km)
Stage 8
Tortoreto Lido – Pesaro (235km)
Stage 9
Riccione – San Marino (individual time trial, 34.7km)
Stage 10
Ravenna – Modena (147km)
Stage 11
Carrpi – Novi Ligure (206km)
Stage 12
Cuneo – Pinerolo (146km)
Stage 13
Pinerolo – Ceresole Reale (188km)
Stage 14
Saint-Vincent – Courmayeur (131km)
Stage 15
Ivrea – Como (237km)
Stage 16
Lovere – Ponte Di Legno (226km)
Stage 17
Commezzadura – Anterselva/Antholz (180km)
Stage 18
Valdaora/Olang – Santa Maria di Sala (220km)
Stage 19
Treviso – San Martino di Castrozza (151km)
Stage 20
Feltre – Croce d’Aune – Monte Avena (193km)
Stage 21
Verona – Verona (individual time trial, 15.6km)

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2019 Giro rumors: 3 TTs, gravel, lots of climbing

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — The 2019 Giro d’Italia, the route for which will presented at the end of this month, will start in Bologna and is due to mix new climbs with iconic ones and plenty of time trialing before ending in Verona.

Organizer RCS Sport keeps the details secret at its Milan headquarters, but local press in contact with city officials have leaked much of the 2019 route early. Chris Froome (Sky), the 2018 winner, or even 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) should smile with the amount of climbing and time trial miles RCS Sport should include.

Over a week ago, RCS Sport announced Bologna and Emilia Romagna would play a key role in the 2019 edition. Bologna will see off the first stage, a short uphill time trial to the San Luca Sanctuary that hosts the final of the Giro dell’Emilia one-day race.

The region also hosts the start of stage 9, a 34.7km time trial into the Republic of San Marino that celebrates the Sangiovese vineyards nearby. Modena — the home of Ferrari — hosts a flat stage finish the following day on stage 10.

Several local newspapers named Verona’s arena as the host of 2019 editions’s gran finale. It’s likely the home of Romeo and Juliet will host the third time trial of the race, around 15km over the Circuito delle Torricelle to the Arena’s front door.

The tifosi will scan the route quickly when RCS Sport releases it in search of the high mountain peaks. Those are in the north, and this is a Giro that will celebrate the famous boot’s upper section.

The race starts in Bologna and ends nearby in Verona and goes no further south than Naples, according to reports. That leaves more time to explore the mountain passes that the Giro is known for.

In the second week, a classic stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo in Piedmont is planned. It could include around 5,000 meters of climbing. On a similar stage in 1949, Italian hero Fausto Coppi rode clear to a stage victory and gained enough time for the overall. The following day, 100 years after his birth, the Giro should finish outside the Coppi museum in Novi Ligure — the Museo dei Campionissimi.

On the third weekend, the Giro could again climb over 4,000 meters to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley. The 14th stage would climb the Colle San Carlo beforehand and finish in front of the Courmayeur Skyway. That Sunday, it would celebrate its Il Lombardia monument with a stage to Como that takes in many of the one-day classic’s climbs — not high-altitude, but demanding ones that could trap several contenders.

The final week’s run to Verona includes a classic over the Mortirolo and Gavia pass, where American Andy Hampsten defended an eventual Giro victory in 1988. A short ad punchy mountain stage of around 100km is also on the books. Fans and organizers have grown fond of those types of stages in recent years.

And the final punch? Leaked this week, it appears the organizer planned a stage over the Cima Campo, Manghen, and Rolle passes ahead of the beautiful Croce d’Aune climb. On this climb in 1927, Tullio Campagnolo realized the need to change gears easily and began planning designs for the eventual rear derailleur that would revolutionize cycling.

This Dolomite stage would be stage 20 and, according to a report in Tutto Bici, could use the gravel roads at the top to host the final pink jersey fight. Such an inclusion would be applauded a year after Froome’s solo ride over the gravel Finestre climb.

Read the full article at 2019 Giro rumors: 3 TTs, gravel, lots of climbing on